Model car enthusiast on the road to acclaim at home and abroad NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

NEIGHBORS

April 08, 1993|By JUDY REILLY

David Roehrle knows something about cars -- especially model cars.

While the rest of us may be turning into television or magazine couch potatoes after working hours, this Jasontown resident heads for his studio to create exquisite automotive models that have won acclaim in model-car shows all over this country and in Europe.

From old pickup trucks that look as if they've seen plenty of muddy mountain roads to Cadillacs so sleek and beautiful that you long to drive away in them and never return, Mr. Roehrle has created models to perfection.

A graphics artist, Mr. Roehrle (pronounced ray-lee), has in his collection more than 30 model cars, trucks and even a "Star Wars" spacecraft.

He began crafting models more than 30 years ago, beginning with model airplanes. But when his father began to crash the planes, he decided he wanted to make something his father couldn't destroy. So he turned to model-car building and was hooked by it.

Since then, he has hardly let a day go by without spending time crafting his miniature works of art.

During the model-car show season, from now to October, Mr. Roehrle and his wife, Karen, who also is a model-car enthusiast, will spend most of their weekends at model shows and contests from New Jersey to Virginia, mostly in the Delmarva area. However, he is sending one of his models to the Greater Salt Lake Model Car Championships in Utah later this month.

Mr. Roehrle has won more than 60 trophies for his cars, and about 30 articles about his models have appeared in various hobby magazines.

"It's really exciting to be in a magazine," he says. "Every time I'm in one it blows me away."

Mr. Roehrle has more than 30 models completed, but more than 200 boxes of model kits wait on the shelves begging to be built. Some kits, especially older ones that appreciate in value like antiques, will stay intact in their boxes.

Other kits are strategically placed for the value of their parts to Mr. Roehrle's building schemes. He will interchange parts, remake them or create his own to get the perfect engine, wheels, car handle, spark plugs -- whatever detail it takes to make his models one of a kind.

Attention to detail makes these models fun to study. You'll see a half-eaten peanut-butter sandwich on the seat, an ashtray full of cigarette butts, doughnuts strewn about an old tow truck and pickup, built as "junkers" on their last mile.

An old motor home has a sink, a hanging light and all the necessities to set up house on the road.

In addition to stumbling onto a hobby for life back in 1958, "I would have never learned how to read without these models," Mr. Roehrle says. "Whenever I came across stuff in the directions I didn't understand, I'd look it up in a hot-rod magazine. So I had to learn how to read."

Why does he stick with it now that he's an adult?

"I'm doing the stuff now I really wanted to do as a kid," he says. "Besides, I can't afford the real thing."

Information: Automotive Modelers Society, 635-6726. *

Hats off to Mary Ellen Bay for her efforts of planting 2,000 daffodil bulbs on the banks of Uniontown Road at both ends of Uniontown. Her hard work in digging the dirt and motivating young gardeners to help out on a blustery day last fall have paid off. The first flowers appeared as soon as the snow melted. Thanks for spreading some much-needed sunshine, Mrs. Bay!

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